There are two things I have learned to appreciate in recent years; quality and tradition. And there is a new (or should I say old) site in Barton, North Lincolnshire, that is effortlessly combining the two.
The Old Tile Works, which is located on the south bank of the River Humber, has been of great importance to the town's history, being the home of tile-making for over 170 years. After quite some time, this historic site has been developed into a place that celebrates time-honoured trades whilst supporting the local area.
Overlooking the Humber Bridge, a picturesque pond and green fields (which are sometimes occupied by the resident Hereford Cows) is the Tiles Coffee Shop and Restaurant, where you can relax with a coffee and a slice of freshly-baked cake, or dine on dishes that have been made using produce sourced as close to home as possible. Personally, I have yet to visit Tiles, but judging by the images I have seen of the food, we are in for a treat!
Following the path round the site, past the childrens' play area, is the Artisan Village. This small collection of studios is home to local crafts people who all share a passion for creating quality items in a traditional way, putting time and effort back into their respective trades that is sometimes forgotten today.
The village starts with The Potters' Shed. From his studio, Gabriel Nichols and his team make bespoke, handmade flower pots of all shapes and sizes, using clay dug from the site's fields along the River Humber.
Alison Casserly, of Natur-ally Yarns, sells yarns and knitwear made from local wool that has been dyed naturally (of course!)
Yellowbelly Woodwork create completely bespoke furniture and cabinets from ethically-sourced wood and timber. The carpenter uses time-tested joining methods and finishes each item with oils, wax and paint of the highest-quality.
Next in the line up is Egil's Preserves, a range of jams, chutneys and conserves that are made without artificial additives, followed by Wold Cycles, a customised bicycle workshop.
Finally, there is Stella & Alf, a fashion brand focusing on timeless, classic clothing made with sustainably-sourced fabrics. (You can see my blog post on their launch night here!)
You can not forget The Drying Shed; this was once, in fact, used as one of the site's tile drying sheds, and it has been transformed into a quaint shop, selling handmade flowerpots, reclaimed garden furniture and much more.
Of course, The Old Tile Works still manufactures pantiles in the traditional method from here, and is believed one of the only sites in Europe that does so, making it a truly special place.
Visiting the site and seeing the crafts peoples' studios certainly makes you appreciate the values that this place holds, and the time and effort that has gone into each and every item, from the giant flower pots to the thousands of tiles that make up the walls and walkway of the grounds. For more information on The Old Tile Works, visit the Facebook page and follow on Twitter; the website will be up and running soon.